Have a pair of tennis shoes that no longer fit a child or adult but yet have some wear left in them? Hate to think of just throwing them in the garbage? Spring Grove Public School has a solution - tie the shoes together by their laces and drop them off at the school. They are participating in the GreenSneakers EcoChallenge for Education in Minnesota.

GreenSneakers is a non-profit organization that makes "used sneakers available as affordable footwear for those in need around the world, and by doing so helps create and sustain jobs in various regions across the globe, and lessens environmental impact through reuse."

Reusing athletic shoes is good for the environment in that it keeps the shoes out of landfills. According to GreenSneakers' website, it "may take anywhere from 50-1,000 years to break down" a pair of shoes in a landfill. The shoes that are donated to GreenSneakers not only help the environment, but also help those in third world countries as well as used by reputable agencies that are handling large-scale disasters and humanitarian relief efforts.

Spring Grove Public School is collecting used tennis shoes that include sneakers/tennis shoes, 'nubby' turf type shoes as well as the hiking sneaker type of shoe. It does not include sports cleats, dress shoes, Crocs, flip-flops, sandals, work boots, or slippers.

The EcoChallenge for Education collection goes through April 15. Participating schools will earn 50¢ per pair of shoes and could win an additional $5,000 if they win the EcoChallenge. Schools are divided into categories according to the size of their student population. The school with the highest percentage of pounds collected per student in each size category of school wins the additional money.

The goal for the EcoChallenge at Spring Grove Public School is to help fund new swings for the playground. Shoes can be dropped off in the box just inside entrance #1 on 2nd Avenue NW, taken to the school office, or parents can send them with their child to school. A pair of sneakers can weigh up to two pounds, which means earnings of about a $1 per pair - a great way to be friendly to the environment, help the Spring Grove Public School students earn new swings for their playground, and help those in developing countries and in disaster relief areas.